Youth Reentry Reform Project

    Project: Research project

    Project Details

    Description

    This proposal seeks to build on the Foundation’s on-going partnership with the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission (Commission or IJJC) and the Children and Family Justice Center (CFJC) and to continue our joint commitment to juvenile justice reform in Illinois.

    As noted in our previous proposal to the Foundation:

    A great deal must still be done to institutionalize specific system reforms, ensuring their long-term success. Meanwhile, because Illinois stakeholders are increasingly better-educated about juvenile justice issues and increasingly pressured to act with haste to address youth violence, the time is right to act on several specific and pressing problems confronting our state.

    To this end, our previous proposal identified four major issues requiring substantial real-time research, policy analysis, and communication responses beyond the ordinary capacity of the Commission:
    • Reentry reform progress, monitoring, and institutionalization;
    • Raising the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to include 17-year-olds;
    • Educating policymakers about youth adjudicated delinquent for sex offenses; and
    • Reducing youth victimization and violence, especially related to gun offenses in Chicago.

    Despite considerable progress, there is much work left to be done and an unprecedented amount of interest in tackling some of the more difficult subjects in juvenile justice. At the same time, Illinois has a new governor from a different political party, meaning that there will be a great deal of change in executive agency personnel and policy advisors, in addition to the usual newly-elected state legislators, all of whom must be brought up to speed on effective juvenile justice strategies and policy to prevent backsliding and to keep reform momentum going. An early sign from the executive branch including the appointment of three reform minded juvenile and criminal justice advocates to key positions is encouraging and it may be that juvenile justice reform is one of the few issues about which a politically-divided Governor and General Assembly may agree.

    It is critical for Illinois to make progress on the tough issues that remain as soon as possible, while there is an unusual amount of interest and attention being paid to “reform.”

    Activities/Strategies:

    • Build support amongst stakeholders and community partners through education, engagement and collaboration.
    • Implement comprehensive communication plan.
    • Develop educational materials and strategies tailored for specific audiences, including:
    o youth in communities;
    o incarcerated or detained youth;
    o community partners;
    o legislators;
    o stakeholders and
    o other decision makers.
    • Continue research and analysis regarding legislative schemas and best practices on various substantive issues including:
    o length of time on parole/aftercare
    o youth appropriate conditions for aftercare
    o graduated sanctions and incentives
    o discharge from aftercare
    o transfer laws and practices
    o mandatory five year probation for forcible felonies
    o mandatory sentences applied to minors in criminal court
    o youth under 18 housed in adult facilities
    o racially disparate policing practices applied to youth.
    • Draft model regulations and best practice policy papers.
    • Collaborate with relevant state agencies and executive branch partners on advancing the Commission’s policy agendas.
    • Coordinate meetings of and between the Commission, the oversight committee, stakeholders, legislators and the community partners to reduce duplication of efforts, identify and addr
    StatusFinished
    Effective start/end date5/1/154/30/17

    Funding

    • Public Welfare Foundation (AGMT #15-086)

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